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by Lydia Krupinski

Tis the season for holidays, food, family and friends. As some people prep for the fellowship, reflections, and feastings of Thanksgiving, others around the country are already salivating at the midnight shopping promises of big box stores and retail chains. While the term Small Business Saturday may not be as catchy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving has been designated as such to encourage consumers to support the vendors in their own communities.

In the spirit of this week’s holiday and the upcoming shopping stampedes Sprout Chicago would like to highlight a group that’s launching a special campaign to remind Chicagoans to spend their dollars locally this holiday season. Urban Folk Circuit is a group dedicated to supporting and growing the handmade craft and music community in the city. Started in July of 2010, the team unites artisans from around Chicagoland in monthly traveling craft shows that highlight the diverse talents and skills of handmade business owners.

Sprout Chicago caught up with Kelli and Jess, super-crafter extroadinaires and founders of Urban Folk Circuit, to pick their brains about crafting in the city and their latest campaign: Shop Chicago for the Holidays.

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by Lydia Krupinski

With the unseasonably warm weather we are having it’s the perfect time to take a Sustainable Spring Break! What do we mean by sustainable? Low environmental impact. When planning any trip, near or far, it’s important to gauge your footprint. How far will you travel? Where will you stay? What businesses will you support?

These questions were on our minds as David and I planned a weekend getaway to our fair northern neighbor in Wisconsin: Milwaukee. We wanted to take a trip that would be easy on both the environment and our pockets. So if you’re hoping to get away for a few days, read on for our Milwaukee trip suggestions!


Amtrak: Traveling by Amtrak is a great alternative to driving as trains have a lighter carbon footprint and are relatively inexpensive. Trains leave from Union Station daily and the trip is quick – only an hour and a half!

Carpool: Believe it or not – you can hitch a ride to Milwaukee from Chi-town – and legally! Check out websites like and catch a commuter heading North.

Bike: For the bicycling enthusiast you can take the eight hour ride North via the Lakefront, North Shore Channel, Robert McClorey, and Oakleaf trails. This is not for the faint of heart – so please research the ride before taking off. The Wisconsin Bicycle Routes website provides some great information on how to take the trails. And then there’s always the newly launched Google Bike Maps as an added resource.


Couch Surfing: That’s right! There’s nothing more sustainable than crashing on someone’s couch! No daily cleaning, turn down services, and harsh chemicals. Check out for trustworthy hosts and more!

Eco Hotels: Are you too high maintenance for surfing? Then consider a green alternative – Hotel Metro. Milwaukee’s first eco-certified hotel boasts local foods, eco-friendly appliances, complimentary bicycle rentals, and a bio-diesel powered cab. Sound swanky? It is – and the rates show it!


Milwaukee Art Museum: This museum stole our breath away! They have an absolutely incredible collection, beautiful architecture, and an eco-friendly cafe too! 700 Art Museum Drive

Future Green: The destination for sustainable housewares, fair-trade accessories, and organic body care. They even sell solar panels! 2352 S. Kinnickinnic

Sparrow Collective: Adorable handmade clothing, jewelry, and accessories! 2224 S. Kinnickinnic

Tip Top Atomic Shop: Affordable and fun vintage clothing store. 2343 S. Kinnickinnic

Milwaukee Public Market: One of my favorites! This incredible market boasts local foods and dining accommodations with a rustic charm! 400 North Water Street

Yellow Jacket Vintage: A Chicago transplant, this boutique has some incredible vintage finds. 1237 E. Brady

Project M Boutique: This newly opened handmade fashion boutique has indie designers, charm and affordable prices. 801 E Center Street

Riverwest Co-Op and Grocery Fresh locally grown foods and a scrumptious lunch cafe. 733 E Clarke Street

Chartreuse: Minimalist and modern eco clothing boutique. 1224 East Brady Stree

Is there something missing from our list? Tell us by leaving a comment!


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